There is an important story to tell around the role of farms in growing our clothes.
We don't normally think of farms when shopping for new clothes. Synthetic fabrics are man-made and produced artificially from chemical compounds, usually plastic, derived from fossil fuels. In comparison, natural fabrics sourced from either plants or animals, can be grown within a regenerative farming system that fosters environmental benefits such as improved soil health, nature recovery and a productive local textile economy.
At Great Cotmarsh Farm we are particularly passionate that farmers should be able to realise the value in the fibre they produce. When Katie started farming, she was determined to see the worth in her own wool clip, so in 2021 she graduated with an MA in Fashion and Textile design, creating an award-winning knitwear collection using the flocks wool, under the brand Loopy Ewes; www.loopyewes.co.uk .
There is an important story to tell around the role of farms in growing our clothes and this year work on our farm around fibre will unfold further still. We are planning to launch an on-farm education programme, which will offer fashion students and professionals the opportunity to come on farm and understand how the production of natural fibres can help to benefit our natural environment and demonstrate the potential benefits for both people and our ecosystem, of designing clothing made from within a bio-region.
We are starting to cultivate our own dye plants on the farm, in a bid to grow both the colour and raw fibre for Katie's knitwear collection and James continues along a journey to set up a micro-scale veg tannery, which will become one of only three remaining veg-tanneries working with cattle hides in the UK.